Will historic conversions save the City of Rochester?


The people behind some of the City of Rochester’s highest-profile building projects updated the audience on their plans and their progress at a luncheon put on Tuesday by the Downtown Development Corporation.

The Sibley building.

You should expect to see some action around the Sibley building this summer, said Gilbert Winn, managing principal for building owner WinnDevelopment. The building will get a new facade and streetscape, Winn said, “to change the feel of the building, that hasn’t had a lot of love in recent years.” Plans include new windows, signs, awnings, and landscaping.

MCC is still included in Winn’s plan, although the college seems to be set on moving out to State Street. Looking at the design boards Winn displayed at the luncheon, it seems that rejiggering the layout without MCC would require a pretty substantial effort.

Winn plans to redevelop the historic building for retail, office, and housing. The building’s different users, including office workers and tenants, would have their own entrances.

One of the more unique projects is the RIT Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, which includes space for public meetings and classrooms, as well as incubator and hacker space in the old Rochester Savings Bank downtown.

The center’s programs will focus on the disadvantaged in Rochester, helping them create their own businesses.

Providing housing and job training haven’t been enough to create wealth in the inner city, said dt ogilvie, from RIT’s Saunders College of Business.

“You create wealth by putting people in their own business who will hire people at living wages and they buy their own homes,” she said.